These diseases, known as NTDs, are a group of painful and debilitating infections that affect around 1.2 billion people across the globe. They include river blindness (onchocerciasis), which causes excruciating itching and eventual sight loss, and lymphatic filariasis, the world’s leading cause of physical disability.
NTDs affect the most poverty-stricken and vulnerable. Yet today, thanks to you and those billion treatments, millions of people are being protected. You’ve made history, and you should be really proud!
We’re also extremely grateful to the incredible volunteers who distribute the NTD treatments donated by global pharmaceutical companies. Known as community directed distributors (CDDs), these dedicated people are nominated by their local communities and play a huge role in enabling us to reach those in desperate need.
CDDs have first-hand experience of the devastating impact NTDs have on people’s lives, and take on the huge responsibility of administering treatments to often remote, hard-to-reach communities – with the help of their dose poles.
Sightsavers and partners have trained hundreds of thousands of CDDs across Africa. This community-run approach to mass drug administration has been cited by the World Health Organization as being one of Africa’s most successful strategies in reducing disease at low cost. And we couldn’t have done it without you.
Last November, seven-year-old Dorcas from Kaduna State, Nigeria, received our billionth treatment against NTDs.
Dorcas’s grandfather, Simon, was infected with river blindness almost 30 years ago. He’s now completely blind and has never seen Dorcas or her brothers and sisters. Thankfully, their future looks much brighter.
Today, Simon is the only person in the village to have lost his sight through river blindness. Following mass administration of preventative drugs, supported by you, there are no new cases of the infection. It means that Dorcas and children like her can go to school and live their lives without the constant threat of NTDs.